All posts by reneeinnd


The breeder from whom we got our dog said that a road trip was one of the best ways to bond with with a puppy. Kyrill was pretty scared, at first, but by the time we got him to our first night at the hotel, he was happy and perfectly content.

Kyrill is very attached to us, so much so that he follows us everywhere and can’t bear to be away from us. Our experience with other terriers is that they are independent souls who want to explore the world on their own terms. Kyrill’s terrier breed, on the other hand, has a pack-mentality and only wants to be with the leaders of the pack. I had to set some limits with him regarding his feeding, as he only wanted to eat if the food bowl was underneath my feet as I sat on the sofa. He trusts us implicitly to provide everything he needs, and that is a little daunting at times.

Kyrill loves to help us in the yard. Here he is helping us plant bare root strawberries.

I admit that I have encouraged much of his dependence on us, as I let him sleep with us, but, in his and my defense, he is a perfect sleeping partner and only stirs once a night after about 5 hours. He then goes right back to sleep for another 4 hours. . He is crated during the day when we are at work.

How do you get animals or people to trust you? How can you tell if you can trust someone? Have you ever known anyone with a trust fund?

A Comedy of Errors

I was told this story on Sunday by a member of our Bell Choir. I thought is was pretty funny.

A couple of weeks ago, a member of my Bell Choir was playing the organ at a local Catholic wedding. She was under the impression that all she had to do was accompany the singer. Well, when she got to the church the day of the wedding, the priest informed her that she needed to play for the whole wedding service, including the liturgy. She had no music for the service, and had to rummage through the organist’s files until she found it. It wasn’t in the right order, however, so she just tried to wing it.

The organ in the church she was at is in the balcony at the back of the sanctuary, and unless people looked back, no one could see her. She phoned her cousin, who had played at several Catholic weddings, and her cousin talked her through the service. It came time for communion, and her cousin remembered that there had to be a hymn as the bread and wine were brought to the altar. She told my friend to just open the hymnal and play something. My friend hurriedly opened the hymnal and played the first chord of the song on the page to which it opened, which was in D major, and realized that she had opened the hymnal to Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, which wouldn’t have worked out for a Spring wedding. She sustained the D major chord with the foot pedals as she flipped through the hymnal to find another hymn in D major, and finally found one. I guess the rest of the wedding service went ok.

I can only imagine how nerve-racking that must have been. I sort of wish she had played Oh Come, All Ye Faithful. That would have really made the wedding one for the books.

Any comedy of errors you can tell about? What are some songs you would like to hear at a wedding?

Grading on a Curve

Today’s post comes from Ben

After last week’s blog title, “April, Not Farming Yet”, I got to thinking, I really am “farming” every day. I could say I’m not “planting” yet or not “doing field work” yet, but it’s a bit of a misnomer to say I’m not “farming”.
And this week, I’m still not out in the field and I still haven’t planted anything. The co-op spread oat fertilizer Thursday afternoon and while the fields weren’t very dry, I was going to try Friday morning to get them worked up and then plant Friday afternoon. Then we got an inch of rain Thursday night. Again. I don’t wanna complain about it raining, but I would like to get something planted. 

I have been getting things greased up and ready to go: checked tires, pulled the drill from the shed to the barn and back again to be sure all the chains were moving and it appears to be working.

I pulled a muscle in my lower back while clambering under the soil finisher checking tires. Every year that job gets harder. Kneeling on the gravel is no fun either. And trying not to use the one shoulder too much. And the one knee hurts anyway. It was kinda funny all the noises I made under there.

Got the camera’s working in the drill box, just need to finish securing cables. It sure is something to think it takes a week for a letter to go across town, but I can order rubber grommets from Amazon and get them from Louisiana the next day. Or the extension cable from Ohio the next day.

I took the new rear blade out to grade our driveway. There is a real skill and art involved in maintaining gravel roads and my hats off to the grader operators who can do it well. I can’t. I know how you’re supposed to do it and I understand the principle of the thing…but I sure can make a mess of it.

OK, the first grading of the spring is never good anyway. Some of that is my fault, some is just the way it is. This first grading, even on our township roads, one of the things is to cut down the edge, so rain water will run off the sides and not down the road. Plus, that pulls back in some of the gravel that got moved off the road by the snow plow. However this also brings a lot of dirt and grass onto the road. Typically, the good grader guys will leave this mess off to one side, and in a couple weeks it will have broken down and it can all be graded back into the road.

I got this new rear blade that can offset, angle, and tilt up and down. All by hydraulics. Three functions! I only have two hydraulics. (I’m hoping to add a third hydraulic to this tractor.) Plus it’s much heavier and cuts much better than my old blade. It sure did cut the edges down! And drag it into the middle of the road. And raising the right edge angled this way, is backwards when angled the other way and watching the left edge. I had my hands full. And it’s all behind me. And I sure made a mess of the road.

It will be better when I grade it again in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed. Kudos to Parm, our township grader operator.

New chicks are doing well. Growing and eating a lot. Duck numbers are holding. Had a concert at the college and prepping for commencement in two weeks.

This photo is the ‘patch’ for the lighting we’ll be using for commencement.

This right here is about the most important information I will use all week. It tells me everything about the lights and how to hook them up and make them work.

Made a mess of anything lately? What’s the most important thing in your life this week?

Making Myself Scarce

I came back to work from New Orleans on Tuesday and found a message on my phone from a Sheriff’s Deputy letting me know he had a subpoena to serve me. I phoned him back and he said he would serve it to me sometime in the afternoon. He didn’t show up.

Yesterday I phoned him again about it, and he said had two subpoenas that had got mixed up and he served mine to the wrong person, but had retrieved it. I told him I would be in all afternoon. To me, that meant I would be at work from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. I went home for lunch.

The Deputy showed up at my work at 12:15, and was really honked off to hear I had gone home for lunch. He left in a huff, telling the receptionist that I could just track him down. Well, in my 30+ years of being served subpoenas, it doesn’t work like that. He is supposed to find me. Nevertheless, I tried phoning him to apologize for the mix-up but his voicemail was full. After some emails to my superiors, I phoned the Sheriff’s Office and told the receptionist that I would be in all afternoon and to please let him know. He never showed up.

I have no idea what case the subpoena is for. I have no idea when the hearing is. I will gone all next week. I really don’t want him to show up today to serve me a subpoena for a hearing next week, since I will be out of town If we don’t have sufficient time to prepare our schedules, our Human Service Department attorney from the Attorney General’s office will file a complaint and ask for the hearing to be rescheduled. Unfortunately, our attorney is gone until Monday! I plan to spend today laying low, not answering my phone, and hoping beyond hope that the Deputy doesn’t show up. I need to make myself scarce.

When have you wanted to hide? Have you ever been served a subpoena? How do you make yourself scarce?

Cutting Edge

The breeder of our soon to be obtained puppy feeds his dogs a grain-free dry dog food that is good through the life span. No special varieties for puppies or senior pooches. It is only obtainable at Costco.

There is a Costco in Bismarck, 100 miles away from our town. It has only been there a couple of years. (Cutting edge progress is slow to arrive here.) I have not suggested we get a Costco membership until now. If the breeder thinks this is good food for his pups, who am I to argue. He has healthy, happy looking dogs who win prizes at shows.

I have resisted getting a Costco membership until now because I know our grocery buying habits, and worried that we would end up buying even more freezers for basement than the three we have now. I believe it was Bill who dubbed us opportunistic grocery shoppers. He is correct.

We stopped at the Bismarck Costco on Monday and got our membership. As we walked back to get the dog food, Husband asked me to hold his arm so he wouldn’t wander off and get lost amidst all the enticing food stuffs and gadgets and other wonderments we observed. We limited ourselves to dog food. When I told our children about it, Son said he and his wife had been contemplating their own membership. Daughter, of course, said she has had a membership for four years. Why didn’t we just ask her to order the dog food? Always on the cutting edge, that girl.

It is good the store is 100 miles away. We can’t just pop in for a look. Oh, I hope this works!

When have you been on the cutting edge? What do you like to buy at stores like Costco? What do you like to feed your pets?


I just returned from a meeting of State and Provincial psychology regulatory boards held in New Orleans. It was our first in-person meeting in two years, and the Louisiana Board was so happy and proud to have the conference in their state.

One of the Louisiana Board members is a native of Louisiana and the the co-founder of a Mardi Gras krewe. I don’t know much about these organizations, but they seem integral to the celebration of Mardi Gras across the state and host parade floats, wear costumes, and have all sorts of parties and concerts throughout the year. He gave out Mardi Gras doubloons from his krewe to the conference attendees this weekend. The doubloons are large, colored, cast aluminum coins that are thrown from Mardi Gras parade floats. He also made us honorary members of his krewe, and translated the “secret” Latin motto of his Krewe, which is “Sicut equites aggredtuntur hominem vivere oportet” . I forgot the exact meaning, but it had something to do with living life to the fullest.

Our grandson turns 4 today, and I told him over the phone that I had pirate doubloons to give him when we see him in two weeks. (It would have been this coming weekend, but his mother is afflicted with COVID, and we had to change our travel plans.) Our son told our grandson that we were in a pirate town, and he is so excited to see the pirate coins and the pirate jeweled necklaces I got in New Orleans. It is magical to him, and I love to feed his imagination with simple things that can take on such meaning. Those are the best toys, I think.

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? What seemed magical when you were a child? What were your best toys? Translate the Latin motto, if you can.

The Everclear Inn

We have a small airport in our town that has flights to Denver in rather small planes. It works pretty well as long as your final destination is somewhere in the West or Southwest. If you are flying East, it makes more sense to drive to Bismarck and take a plane to Minneapolis and then to where you need to end up.

Since Bismarck is in the Central Time Zone and we are in Mountain Time, getting to the airport two hours before an 8:00 flight means leaving our town at 3:30 am. We choose to spend the night in Bismarck instead of having such an early flight. The traveler’s choice is usually a hotel in South Bismarck that offers free shuttle service to the airport and lets you leave your vehicle in their parking lot.

This hotel used to be called The Expressway Inn. It recently has been given new management and a new name, and is deteriorating rapidly in terms of service and cleanliness. We stayed there Wednesday night. Husband dubbed it The Everclear Inn in a play on its new name. I noticed in the elevator a sign extolling their modern hygiene practices, such as “electrostatic room cleaning”, whatever that might mean. It is just too bad it is the closest hotel to the airport. It is still probably better than driving to Bismarck in the middle of the night. We flew back into Bismarck late Sunday night. The Weather Service prediction of heavy snow and ice over the weekend made it prudent to spend the night and drive home on Monday morning. Husband insisted on the Hampton Inn, a step up from our usual. I will be glad to be home.

What have been your more interesting lodging experiences? Come up with some interesting scenarios for electrostatic cleaning. How do you manage airports these days?

April, Not Farming Yet

Today’s post comes from Ben.

It’s been a crazy busy week. But at least we’ve gotten some much needed rain. Monday, I got an implement deliver that I had ordered in December. (My new rear blade for moving snow, grading the road, or moving dirt) Plus, it is tech week at the college so rehearsals every night and busy during the day dealing with things. I wore my tool belt at the college one day and that felt great! (With my shoulder, I have not needed it or 5 months, nor have I been able to manipulate my arm to get it buckled.)
Mostly I feel like I am fighting with technology lately. Government websites, computer programs, helpful people that update things to make it “new and improved” and then it does not work like it used too. It is enough to make a person frustrated.  

Wednesday, we picked up baby chicks at the post office. The first thing we do is get them a drink of water. (See photos below. They look red because we have a red heat lamp on them.)

and I picked up the first of my seed; got oats and corn seed. Did a few things at home, felt like a newbie, and made stupid mistakes. Moved the snowblower out of the shed: I tied up the power take off shaft first. But I tied it too high, and it was in the way, and I could not get the tractor hooked up to the blower. Out of the tractor and tied the shaft different. Back in the tractor and got the blower hooked up on the first try, moved it outside, parked it, got out of the tractor, did a couple other things, back in the tractor and drove away without unhooking the blower. Broke the string holding the PTO shaft. Got out, tied that back up again. String broke. (It is a heavy shaft and I had frayed the string when it broke the first time). Tied it up a fourth time. Back in the tractor, re-park the blower, and the wood blocks shifted and the blower tipped forward. Out of the tractor, reset the blocks, hook it up again, back in the tractor and get it to stay this time, out of the tractor to get it unhooked. Man, twenty minutes later on a 5-minute job…  

I am adding a camera system to the tractor this spring. Built a bracket to hold the screen in the cab, and the two cameras are on magnets and will go back in the drill tanks, and now it is just cable management between cameras and monitor screen, plus power for the display and cell phone charger, and boy I’ll really be something. I hope it works. I told my mom that dad would think I was pretty lazy I couldn’t get off the tractor to see how much seed was left, but she didn’t think so; he would have thought it was kinda cool. Made me miss him a little bit.

Delivered more Straw, almost to the end of that. There was a dead animal in the yard one morning. Pretty sure it was a weasel, which, if it was, they are terrible to a flock of chickens so I’m sorry it’s dead but better it than my chickens. Another time I sure miss Steve so he could tell us about weasels. Duck numbers are holding steady. No losses this week.

I will be able to use the cameras on the baler, or anything that I cannot see from the cab.

Next week I should be able to get into the fields and get oats planted. I read that corn seed needs 48 hours of 50° soil temps to germinate. Plan accordingly.

Do you have a favorite string? I like twine. Plastic twine if it’s outside. Where would you put a camera?

Bringing Up Baby

In two weeks we will pick up our new Cesky Terrier pup in Oklahoma. He will be a about 12 weeks old. We haven’t had a puppy in the house in 20 years. That was when we got our second Welsh Terrier. We have been considering all the things we will need, such as a crate, as we are crate training, leash, collar, puppy chews, treats for reinforcement, and dog bed. We will take the breeder’s recommendations for the kind of food and the immunization schedule. We will have him microchipped. Our son is encouraging us to get a bell to hang on the back door for the dog to ring when it has to go outside. He successfully trained his West Highland Terrier to do that.

When we got our first Welsh Terrier, the breeder, who lived in Mankato, was dismayed to find out that we were psychologists. She said that, in her experience, psychologists weren’t consistent enough to raise terriers. We did pretty well with our dogs, I thought. They were terribly impulsive and naughty, but that is sort of how Welsh Terriers are. They never bit anyone, and I consider that a success.

I think that we will have more time for dog training since we have no kids at home like we did with the Welshies. Our new pup will have all our attention. I do know that I am not going to let him sleep with us, like we did our first dogs. He will sleep in his crate. I am also prepared to be exhausted for the first couple of months getting up in the night to take him outside, but that will get better with time. I think, this time, though, I will get a terrier training book our son recommended. I will show that Mankato breeder we raise can a good terrier citizen with excellent manners.

What do you consider essential puppy accoutrements? What successes or flops have you had training pets?

Cabin Fever

Yesterday was my first day back at work in two weeks, and I was curious how my coworkers spent their time during the blizzard. Half were ecstatic about the time off, loving the isolation and the enforced stay at home. The other half hated every minute of it, feeling trapped and anxious. I think that is called cabin fever.

There was a very funny article in the New Yorker April 11 by Ian Frazier about cabin fever and what it is like to go stir crazy. He used to live in a cabin in western Montana, and noted how socially awkward he became the longer he spent in isolation in the woods. He also noted that in 2018, a Russian scientist at a research station in Antarctica stabbed another Russian scientist because he kept giving away the ending of books. I am happy to report that none of my coworkers stabbed anyone, but of course they were only snowbound for three days.

Because of the way the snow blew in, there is a huge pile of snow on our roof on the front of the house, and the melting has caused enormous icicles to form right by our front door. You could stab someone with one of those, I suppose. It is a good thing that Husband and I both like being at home, and neither of us gives away the ending of books.

Have you ever had cabin fever? Who would you like to be snowbound with? Ever read much by Ian Frazier?